Sal Santiago writes about travel, minimalism, philosophy, and living an alternative lifestyle.
How Many Steps Do You Walk Each Day?
Fitting walking into your daily schedule is a great way to stay fit and active, and to feel inspired.
It has positive benefits for your physical and mental health. It is a time-out to refresh your mind and spirit, and perhaps mull over ideas and projects.
My Daily Walking Routine
I walk to work in the morning, take a short walk on my hour lunch break, and then go out of my way to take a longer route home, to get about 4000-6000 steps per day. On weekends, I usually go for longer hikes and walks. I'm always tweaking my routine, aiming for more steps, if I have the time and am feeling up to the challenge.
Positive Benefits of a Daily Walk
The key is to get moving as much as possible, and strive to make walking a greater part of your day. This is particularly important if you are mostly sedentary all day at your job.
According to MayoClinic, walking promotes circulation, improved breathing, endurance, increased energy, and a calm mind.
Being Outside in Nature, Soaking in the Sunlight
At times during your walks, you can try to walk at a more brisk pace, This will be beneficial as well, as you increase your heart rate. And it has a fairly low impact on your knees and ankles. Another important health benefit that many of us don't get enough of, especially in the northern climates with long winters and decreased sunlight: vitamin D. Getting outside in the sunshine (when temperatures are comfortable and it is not too scorching hot) can improve your mood and your overall health.
The real fun part is to just be outside, in nature, or on the streets of your city, taking in the sights and sounds. It is one of the small simple pleasures in life that any of us can enjoy. Being a part of the flow of events of another day in the world. And no greater goals are needed. Just to be outside and moving in the elements, under the sunshine or clouds, and enjoying your walk and your time.
The More You Walk, the More Addictive It Becomes
And the more you walk, the more addictive it becomes. For me, I don't feel quite right on a day if I don't get 4000-6000 steps (about 2-3 miles). I'll settle for 2000 steps as a minimum (about 1 mile for most people). Occasionally I'll take a day off to recover if I'm feeling especially tired or sore. Then the next day I'm usually raring to go for a walk again.
On the weekends, I'll take short trips and go for longer walks, often looking for new territory to cover. Perhaps a hiking trail in a nearby park or woods, or a waterfront path along a lake or river.
It is one of the most basic activities we can do as humans, and it costs us nothing. (Unless you drive to somewhere where you can walk, and spend a little money on gas).
You Can Always Find Creative Ways to Get In More Steps
We have become such a car-centric species, that for many, this simple activity is not a large part of their day. The sedentary lifestyle is likely contributing to the overall poor health of the country (U.S.). It is a simple step you can take (literally and figuratively!) to start moving and get out on the footpaths and trails.
Even if you can't go very far from your job or home (perhaps it is a neighborhood with no sidewalks) you can always find creative ways to get in more steps. Walking around the building a few times, taking the stairs, doing loops through the building, are a few options. I remember reading about a person who, locked down during the pandemic, ran a full marathon in his apartment, just traversing the living room to the kitchen to the bedroom, over and over again. He had a step counter on his watch, I believe. Now that's a creative use of space to rack up some steps!
You Can Walk in All Kinds of Weather
When it becomes an indelible part of your daily routine, it won't make a difference if it's raining or shining, or snowing with frigid temps. Different kinds if weather can become part of the fun (as long as you have the right gear, a few items to help you for the most part to stay warm and dry) and won't stop you from getting outside.
Do You Live in a Walk-Able City?
Walking is more of an every day activity in a few other countries where I've lived. In Shanghai, and in Seoul, the cities are on a massive scale, and people live a more active lifestyle in comparison with the U S. There is very good and modern public transportation infrastructure, so you can easily get to where you need to go . But to get around in general, you also need to do a lot of walking. It's fun to explore these massive, sprawling cities, on foot.
Walking Is a Small Daily Adventure
There really are no downsides to walking. The benefits are improved health, mood, and energy. Creating a habit that will bring you joy, and take you on small daily adventures.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.